Outrage unlimited

12 Jan,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


So, as expected, the turmoil inPakistanstarted consuming our TV channels. The day started with a video of the exploitation of the Jarawa tribals of the Andamans, put up by an Observer reporter on the Guardian website. There was shock and horror all round, as you could hear someone egging the tribal women to dance. One of the benefits of TV is that you can easily generate outrage at such events and what was earlier acceptable is now seen as taboo. A growth of sorts, perhaps, through exposure because all too often our middle classes are least bothered about the plight of the underprivileged (o dear, do I sound like Katju?).


Unfortunately, though, there seems to be some confusion as to when this Jarawa video was shot and the reporter who got it has claimed protection of sources privilege. This may mean that the horror will die out as officials will do little as they don’t have enough to go on. Follow ups are the only answer, but one wonders.


The disgraceful episode of a Dalit woman being beaten and paraded naked in Maharashtra because her son ran off with an upper caste girl also got some TV time as did rats nibbling on a patient’s face in a Jaipur hospital. The more the “otherIndia” gets noticed, the smaller the divide will become, perhaps.


By the late evening, it wasPakistanwhich was top of the news, as one more military coup seemed imminent. Some channels ran direct feeds fromPakistanand it was fascinating to see that in spite of the difficult times, studio guests did not yell, scream, talk over each other and generally create a massive drama. How would we react under similar circumstances? Sigh.


The international channels did not on Wednesday evening concentrate onPakistan. Other things were happening like the Republican battle to choose a presidential candidate and, as usual,Europe’s economic woes.


* * *


The Darul demand for a visa ban on Salman Rushdie has got far more play on TV than in newspapers. Today’s Times of India has some Muslim scholars and activists asking for more tolerance from fellow Muslims. Meanwhile, Uma Bharti of the BJP was calling the proposed quota for Muslims within OBC reservations another “Partition”. Again newspapers paid her far less attention.


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